Power To The People: Liverpool Radical Film Festival

The Film That Buys the Cinema (2014)

Independent and provocative, the Liverpool Radical Film Festival starts tonight: Maisie Ridgway picks her highlights…

By its nature, the word ‘radical’ is transitional and all encompassing, referring to the departure from tradition towards innovation and progress. It therefore comes as no surprise that Liverpool Radical Film Festival is not only radicalised in terms of cinematic content, but also by access (all events are free or by donation) and location.

Take the main venue, The Well, as an example. It’s an independent, volunteer-run space, home to DIY screenprinters and bespoke bike builders (the ultimate form of radical transportation). Accordingly, Liverpool Radical Film Fest is more than an exposition of unorthodox cinematography. It encompasses a hard-left ideal and aims to provide a safe space to discuss notions that diverge from the usual party lines, covering sexual equality, Syria, football and folk in the process.

In a demonstration of astute self-awareness, the first event of the festival, tonight’s The Film That Buys the Cinema (2014, above), explores the power of film on communities and the place of independent cinema in an ever-increasing neo-liberalist society. Following The Cube cinema in Bristol as it struggles to stay open, and facing losing its lease, Cube staff ran a successful campaign to raise £185,000, including this beautiful collage of films featuring artists such as Portishead and Beardyman. In true radical fashion, there will also be several guest speakers to discuss The Cube and other grassroots cinema projects from around the UK.

Liverpool Radical Film Festival 2014

Radical Snippets screens on Friday; described as a ‘melee of conscious content’, its an open call reel of shorts submitted from every kind of independent filmmaker: expect documentaries, drama, animation and more to get us in the radical spirit. Stick around for the party where you can expect dancing and… radical bingo?

Come Saturday afternoon, Next to Nowhere Social Centre will host Cultures of Resistance (2010, main image), a film about the utilisation of creativity as a weapon in the battle for peace and justice. Recorded over the course of several years and over five continents, acclaimed filmmaker Lara Lee captures creative resistance from Iran, where rappers and Graffiti artists use their art as a means to fight repression; to Brazil, where musicians teach slum kids to use guitars not guns; to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where creative methods give voice to those who have been denied the right to speak. It’s ambitious, admirable and deserving of your time.

On Sunday, Justin (2011) and Brighton Bandits (2007) address the issue of football as one of the final frontiers of gay repression in our society. Justin’s narrative centres on the life of Justin Fashanu, the only openly gay professional footballer who committed suicide in 1998. Structured around the stirring memories of those that knew him best, this short film creates a touching portrayal of a brave man in an unfair game. In a similar vein, Brighton Bandits documents the team of footballers debunking the myth that gay men don’t play. It’s a film that illustrates both the passion for football in the gay community and the poignant life stories of the players.

Liverpool Radical Film Festival is about communication and the creative exchange of information. It’s a malleable form of alternative education where media is presented and then discussed; so that you form the curriculum as much as the curriculum is formed for you.

Maisie Ridgway

Liverpool Radical Film Festival kicks off tonight 7pm with The Film That Buys the Cinema, The Well, Roscoe Street, Liverpool — FREE/donations welcome

Festival continues until Sunday — see full programme here

Posted on 13/11/2014 by thedoublenegative